By JOHN DORN
Kobe Bryant is 37 years old, has played more than 55,000 minutes in his career and is coming off two major surgeries over the last three years. Sadly, he's playing like it.
Entering play Tuesday, Bryant had been shooting the ball miserably. A 31.4 percent field-goal clip to go along with 20.7 percent from the three-point arc was the worst he's ever looked in a Lakers uniform, and to make matters worse, he wasn't defending anybody. According to Basketball-Reference, LA is 12 points per 100 possessions worse when Kobe is on the floor.
The Lakers aren't a team that's built to win now, and Bryant is a former superstar in the back end of his career. These two things aren't exactly a recipe for success, and, well, it's showing on the court.
The Lakers lost for a fourth straight time to open the season on Tuesday to the Denver Nuggets. Kobe played... better, but considering the way he shot the ball over the first three games, there was hardly another way to go. Still, he scored just 11 points on 11 shots, making just one of his five three-point attempts. As of Wednesday, he's now averaging 15.5 shots and 8.5 three-point attempts per game.
Kenneth Faried put on a show for Denver, posting 20 points in the first half and finishing with 28 to go along with 15 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari had 21 while six Nuggets in total scored in double-figures.
The core of the team -- D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle -- figures to be a very good one to build on. With a supposed high-lottery draft pick next summer and some properly used cap room, the Lakers might have a chance at some success next year.
But not this year -- not even close. And as painful as it is to say, it's even more painful to watch: Kobe just seems finished.
Nuggets 120, Lakers 109
Around the League
Hornets 130, Bulls 105
Just four games into the season, the Hornets have already scored more points than they did in any 2014-15 game. Seven players scored in double-digits, led by newly signed Jeremy Lamb with 20 on 9-of-10 shooting.
Pacers 94, Pistons 82
After getting off to a scoring 3-0 start, the Pistons finally dropped their first game Tuesday to Indiana. Despite Andre Drummond posting 25 points and 29 rebounds, their three-point shooting cooled -- they landed just 5-of-22 -- and couldn't post enough offense to keep up with Indy. Rodney Stuckey led the Pacers with 23 off the bench.
Hawks 98, Heat 92
While it's still almost impossible to tell, the Hawks and Heat faced off Tuesday in what could be an eventual playoff matchup in the East. Jeff Teague led the way with 26 points, while Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside all scored at least 19 but in a losing effort.
Magic 103, Pelicans 94
When Evan Fournier goes off for a 30-point night, there's a good chance the opposing defense is having issues. Orlando shot better than 46 percent on the night, with Nikola Vucevic posting 22 points and grabbing 13 boards, while Tobias Harris scored nine to go along with 13 rebounds. Anthony Davis shot just 3-of-12.
Raptors 102, Mavericks 91
For the first time ever, the Toronto Raptors are off to a 4-0 start. Dirk Nowitzki put up 18 points, but Kyle Lowry went for 27 and 10 while DeMar DeRozan posted 20 of his own. Luis Scola scored 19 in 31 minutes, and Dallas fell back down to .500 at 2-2.
Grizzlies 103, Kings 89
After a 50-point loss to Golden State, the Grizzlies desperately needed to get back on the floor and show some good signs Tuesday. Thankfully, that's what they did. Zach Randolph put up 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the team held Sacramento to under 40 percent shooting on the evening. Rajon Rondo shot just 2-of-10 while Darren Collison added 18 off the bench.
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